Congratulations on your decision to own a gun. Among other things, it will give you peace of mind knowing that you have a means to defend yourself, your family, and your property. But there are several nuances of gun ownership that first-timers should know.
Learning How to Use Your Gun
Firing a gun isn't always as easy as pointing and pulling the trigger. Guns differ in terms of firing mechanisms, effective distances, reloading, safety switches and more. Assuming you purchased your gun new, it may come with an owner's manual that reveals this information. If it didn't, you can find most necessary information at the manufacturer's website or through internet searches. In either case, as a new gun owner, you are well advised to sign up for a shooting/safety training course where you will learn how to handle and care for your new weapon.
Safely Storing Your Gun
How do you plan on storing your gun? Tucking it underneath your mattress or in your coat closet isn't the smartest idea (for obvious reasons). Whether it's a handgun, rifle or shotgun, all firearms should be stored in a manner that prevents accidental discharge, protects against damages, and restricts access to authorized adults such as yourself and your spouse. There are several different storage/safety solutions available for firearms, some of which include trigger locks, hard-shell cases, gun cabinets, and gun safes.
Know (and Follow) the 3 Gun Safety Rules
At a minimum, firearm owners should familiarize themselves with the following three gun safety rules:
- Keep your gun pointed in a safe direction. Guns should be pointed in a direction where there's no risk of injury or property damage if fired. When at a shooting range, keep your gun pointed down range.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. This rule is pretty much self-explanatory – don't place your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire.
- Don't load your gun until it is “ready for use.” This doesn't necessarily mean that your firearm must be unloaded all the time. When the firearm is placed in your holster or other carrying accessory, it's considered to be “ready for use,” at which point it's okay to have it loaded with ammunition.
Cleaning Your Gun
You'll need to get into the habit of cleaning your gun on a regular basis. Over time, gun powder, dust, dirt, and other debris will become embedded inside the barrel and surrounding components. In addition to lowering the gun's accuracy, this buildup may also increase the risk of misfires. You can prevent these headaches and more by disassembling and cleaning your firearm.
According to ConcealedNation.org, firearms that are frequently fired should be cleaned after each trip to the shooting range, whereas firearms that haven't been fired for an extended period of time should be cleaned once every few weeks.
* Image used by creative commons license, credited to Keary O.